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Author Topic: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic  (Read 42846 times)

Iconoclast

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Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« on: October 31, 2006, 12:46:00 PM »
We all know that Barovians will not hestitate to burn anyone suspected of witchcraft.

According to one of the transition screens, Barovians only accept healing magics. 

My most recent character is a Barovian guard, so I am formulating his perspective by reading up and thinking about the setting.

I would appreciate some discussion here based off of an example taken from a recent quest.

Recently, he was given the charge of working with the Inquistor and some outlanders to hunt down a dark fey witch.

During the quest, a few outlanders began using magic which placed me into an interesting situation.  One character became coated in bark skin, which certainly looks from a Barovian point of view like witchcraft.  There were quite a few other acts that seemed "unnatural" and that were not of a healing nature.

So I decided to turn a blind eye to it and not react to it ic.  However, these situations are bound to come up again and again, so it would help to talk about these player/character actions regarding magic use.

I know that our insict might be to buff up before a big battle, but I think we should put more emphasis on the role playing and setting. 

What do others think?  Should I continue to turn a blind eye to such occurances, or should any character who is percieved of using witchcraft suffer the ic consequences.

From my Barovian's point of view, anything other than healing magic is dabbeling in the dark arts and should be reckoned with. 

From a Barovian piont of view, he isn't going to see a difference between a mage, cleric, sorcerer, ranger, rogue, or druid using "witchery."  Its all about what he sees.  If someone is healing someone, that magic can be tolerated.  But what about protective spells?  Bark skin?  Stone skin? 

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« Last Edit: October 31, 2006, 12:47:37 PM by Iconoclast »

Thestral

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2006, 02:42:53 PM »
IMHO you would be completely right to act suspiciously/holler out which/ or attempt any actions a guard would deem neccesary on any PC using magic near you. In truth I won't even walk near the guards with my sorceror PC when he has any sort of buff on him that has a visual effect. (i.e. endure elements, or protection from evil) Personally if I was a xenophobic gaurd I would think one of two things. The POC in front of me has been cursed by a witch, or said PC is a witch. Either way I've got a big problem with them.


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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2006, 03:17:09 PM »
Cant kill everyone out to help you tho.. but make notes and point them out to the witch hunter when you get back..

hey boss we burn thisone this one and this one too  :lol:

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2006, 03:25:16 PM »
Right I'm not saying taht you should kill them on the spot. But an appropriate reaction would be well placed in my opinion. I guess if someone walked up to my front door covered in bark, I'd probably freak out and scream demon. I'd probably also light them on fire... but sometimes I'm CE in RL. FEEL THE ACRONYM!


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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2006, 03:36:18 PM »

 Right...

 Barovians are still uncomfortable with healing magics, and try and stay away from most Divine magic, although they don't consider it witch craft. Save for Druids, But many Druids can just pass as 'Modern' preists.


 Mm, But in this case, I'd probably go with the "*Coughs, rubbing his/her guard badge a bit, mostly trying to catch the attention of the others*" and have your character turn a blind eye but report it to the guard staff for investigation. Unless he is bribed, O course.

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Ambrosios

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2006, 03:42:41 PM »
It's witch craft, they're probally dabbling with demons even and you should have them burnt at the stake as soon as possible!

That's about it, Barovians are xenophobic and they fear magic. So lets put it this way, modern terms. Your character is a member of the KKK back in the 40's. It's midnight and he's out with his bethrothed heading home. Down the street is the darkest skin black man he's ever seen, and he has a bat in his hands.(and since this was a group of people for your Barovian character) Now you notice there are others with him, two buddies.. Just as dark with chains. You have a gun in your right pocket, and you have to pass them to get home. You can already feel the color drained from your face and those damn darkies will probally rape your dear Velma!

What do you do?


That's pretty much it roughly, the bat + skin color = magic user and the hatred of african descended people is the xenophobia..

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2006, 03:49:27 PM »
It seemed to me that some of the involved players were vets.  So I found it a bit surprising, as right before busting down a door to storm in on the dark fey witch, everyone just started doing their "mumbo jumbo" magic and buffing up without a care.

When outlanders are with their own kind in a dungeon somewhere, that might be fine, even a habit (though hopefully not all together without some small risk).  

But they were in company with a witch-hunter as well as a Barovian guard.  

So I was left wondering if the players were being mindful of the setting or did they knowingly accept the risk of what could bring on dire consequences for using "witchcraft."


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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2006, 03:53:01 PM »
A large majority of players just get into a routine and forget about the setting. Even on DM quests, more so then.. it seems folks have gotten a little to "Well nothing is going to happen any way, never does." conditioned..

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2006, 04:53:56 PM »
Well, I had posted something longer but the joys of crashes..anyhow.

I should remind everyone that natives do not hate and persecute magic users so much that they fear them. Barovians, guards included as they are just peasants with a halberd, fear magic, the night, werewolves, vampires, calibans, the unnatural, outlanders, Strahd, whatever. They are a people who have learnt to live in fear all their life. They wouldn't try subduing a magic user or a vampire, they likely would pretend it doesn't exist as they do instead of confronting it and if they were nose to nose with one, they would cower and run, not try to beat it.

Also, as commonly used as they are here for reasons of practicality, witch burnings and other religious burnings are an oddity in Barovia. Barovians are a supersticious lot, not a religious or fanatical one. What happens when they do confront "witches" is that a "brave" Barovian will pull out his pitchfork and gather a mob and with said mob, they will drag the witch out of her house and on the street where she will either be drowned (in villages near water sources usually) or lynched to death. If the witch were to cast magics or anything, they likely would run in fear. Inquisitors, witch-hunters, demon slayers, whatever are mistrusted by Barovians who see them as religious or institutional fanatics and they don't like that. And if said people are succesful, Barovians will view them with even more suspicion as they think that anyone who can beat the unnatural is likely unnatural himself. They usually find themself unwelcomed and forced to live on the fringe of society or just driven out of Barovia (Cerberus has been roleplaying that with Noigrim).

This is Barovia, not Falkovnia. Magic is not illegal here, neither is being of another race. Guards wouldn't go out of their way to persecute the unnatural creatures because they are just like the peasants, they are generally a fearful lot, a fearful xenophobic lot. A guard would likely turn a blind eye though, if peasants were commiting murder on a witch, because they are just like them. They might join in, but most likely would just ignore it and walk on.

What I would do with Marcus to do it is tip peasants off about a witch, then rile them up enough to have one of them pick up his pitchfork or a torch and then a mob would form to go get the witch, but if said witch would threaten them or anything, they likely would flee.

As for a native's attitude towards magic. We debated that on the rebel boards about adaptation. Since our rebels were put in direct contact with outlanders in and around the outskirts (as they would work around there), they would see a lot more than the general barovians. We realized that in the end, they would likely start to open up more and tolerate more the outlanders and their odd customs while not really liking them. I might quote some of those posts later as they were very informational (our discussions with Ferf and Jay were awesome on the topics of setting and all and really clarified a lot).

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2006, 05:07:00 PM »
Keep in mind that witchcraft in Barovia is not legal or illegal- it just isn't taken under the account of Barovian law. This isn't because witchery is tolerated by Barovians, but rather due to the ignorance generated by their fear of the unknown. Comparable to modern laws of our world.. the existence of telekinesis, psychic powers, ghosts, hauntings, etc. are widely debated, but ignored by law since the whole population do not accept these things to be real. The same goes for Barovians- there are still many who are in doubt of magic, and have only heard horrible tales of black magic through hushed whispers and rumors.

In the Barovian's perspective- there is no question of justice when it comes to the execution of a witch, since they believe that whatever dark powers the witches/warlocks had perpetuated in their castings are beyond the reach of their normal understanding. This fear of the unknown drives them to exact the only form of retribution (punishment for mingling with "darker powers") they know upon "witches"- the pyre-fires of a wooden stake.
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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2006, 05:15:14 PM »
Just a note, in large groups human fear usually turns to hate and or rage. They'd be more likely to rip the magic user apart than flee.. just an observation.

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2006, 05:26:49 PM »
Nah, not really there Cerb, you're thinking of Falkovnia, not Barovia. Barovians aren't a zealous lot, they are a fearful lot (well most Falkovnians are too, but those that aren't are already enough trouble). And the main reason it isn't illegal is because the Count is a magic user himself (he craves it and burgomasters know that...remember how he found his first Tatyana..when he was buying spellbooks from a boyar who had found them).

They chose to pretend to ignore the existence of magic usually because it makes their life simplier, because they believe they are safe then. Just as how even though they "suspect" the von Zarovich have dabbled in the dark arts for a while now, they prefer ignoring it and living their lives. They won't burn witches usually, that's more Tepestian, Ezrite or Banite way of dealing with witches and Barovians mistrust public institutions and religions.

Quote
Though Barovians believe in magic, the vast majority of them have never seen it in practice, at least outside of the local cleric. Most folk regard magic as a secret as old as time and riddled with spiritual risks too terrible to contemplate. Arcane magic is practiced only in secret in Barovia, as the common folk believe that all such power is a gift granted by demons. These fell blessings can be bestowed in the womb (sorcerers) or deliberately sought out by the deranged (wizards), but it makes little difference to the fearful peasant mind. Even bards must be careful not to reveal themselves as anything but wandering performers in this land. Since popular opinion holds that arcane spellcasters are unquestionably the minions of evil, the agents of the boyars and burgomasters rarely discourage violence against them. Villages are rife with tales of suspected spellcasters lynched in full view of idle Barovian soldiers.

Divine magic as practiced by clerics is regarded as spiritually pure, at least when the spellcaster in question serves a virtuous deity. Nonetheless, Barovians who do not share a cleric's zealous devotion to a particular god are often fearful of the priest's magical power. Like arcane magic, the divine magic of druids is thought to flow directly from a demonic source; Barovians predictably regard such priests of nature with fear and contempt.

                As a people, the Barovians tend to be suspicious of organized institutions, and as such they often have little love for clergy. The vast majority of ethnic Barovians are not religious; the reasons, I discovered, can be as numerous as the folk one presses on the matter. Most, however, believe that the nebulous gods of antiquity are literally missing or dead and that churches are sanctuaries for pretenders and fools (When this Barovia was created in the mists, they quickly realized the gods couldn't communicate with them anymore...). They seldom frequent their churches except when attending funerals. In fact, even in settlements with a functioning temple, weddings are commonly held in the local inn. Only the most optimistic young couples arrange for church weddings (that's mainly becuase young brides tend to disappear after an announced wedding...).

....

Regardless of their professed faith, if any, Barovians adhere to a simplistic, somewhat muddled cosmology. While they believe in a heaven and hell, which are called Refugiu and Iadul in Balok, such otherworldly locations are more folk beliefs than facets of a refined cosmology. Refugiu is a vague and mysterious place, not so much a paradise as a place of rest, where the weariness of the mortal coil is shed for eternal spiritual slumber. As with most heavenly realms, Refugiu is thought to lie above the mortal world, beyond the firmament of stars. The souls of most mortals, even those who were generally wicked in life, are thought to journey to Refugiu upon death.

In contrast to Refugiu's ambiguity, most Barovians have a vivid conception of Iadul as a place of unspeakable horror. Fragments of the ancient Barovian epic Flight from the Balinoks describe Iadul as a fetid pit of disease that stretches into the bowels of the earth. Such a place does not serve to punish evildoers in any cosmic sense. It is merely the abode of demons, and any mortal who finds his way there forged his own damnation without the gods' judgment. Unfortunately, demons are thought to be able to claw their way up into the mortal world to wreak havoc on humankind. Such fiends are generally seen as agents of destruction and perversity interested in humanity only insomuch as it can assist in furthering their own dark desires.

                All Barovians celebrate the same seasonal festivals widely observed throughout the Core's temperate regions. Perhaps due to their druidic heritage, the Forfarians hold the four solar holidays as especially holy.

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Some Barovians, particularly the elderly, whisper that the long-lived von Zaroviches have delved into black magics to extend their life spans unnaturally - a theory perhaps familiar to my patron - and that they continue to spend their time in the pursuit of blasphemous arcane knowledge.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2006, 05:28:46 PM by EO »

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2006, 05:35:08 PM »
Quote
And the main reason it isn't illegal is because the Count is a magic user himself (he craves it and burgomasters know that...remember how he found his first Tatyana..when he was buying spellbooks from a boyar who had found them).

 I'd believe that's more of a secondary reason. That's pretty much a spoiler, since it isn't confirmed public knowledge and only a rumor among peasantry. I am aware that mobs lynchings occur alot in Falkovnia, but it still happens in Barovia, though not as zealously (what you said).

The main and primary reason is a psychological one of human nature- the fear and denial of the unknown.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2006, 05:36:46 PM by The Enigma »
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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2006, 08:20:30 PM »
Just a note, in large groups human fear usually turns to hate and or rage. They'd be more likely to rip the magic user apart than flee.. just an observation.

True, but I think the best way to wrap you brain around it is to look at a modern day riot.  The mob will do whatever the hell they feel like, even going so far as to beat/kill/destroy anything in their path, but put some cops out there with tear gas, and the mob crumbles into a terror filled beast. 

To convert this into the topic at hand, the peasents would most like lynch/drown/burn someone they thought was a witch, but should that witch throw a fireball into the air/ shoot a line of lightning out, the mob would probably flee.

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2006, 12:41:44 PM »
I've learned a few things while reading through this thread.  It seems that a reading of source material, like most texts, will invite different interpretations.

At this moment, these are my open-ended conclusions:

1.  On average Barovians are more fearful of witchcraft than outright hostile. 

What I mean is that my native pc guard's first response is unlikely to be pure hostility with the intent of killing the percieved witch (but a lot will always depend on each circumstance.) 

2.  If he percieves signs of witchcraft, such as someone being coated with barkskin and the such, he will respond with a degree of fear, suspicion, and hostility.  If the possible "witch" is obviously doing evil, he may be more reactive on the spot.  If the possible "witch" is just questionable, (such as being coated with barkskin, but then blasting through the door to battle a dark fey witch) then he will report it to his commanders as well as place a few words among his kin (the local gossip which could in the long run lead up to mob hostility.) 

3.  Fear.  One of my pc guard's greatest fears is of witchcraft.  (Despite being very disciplined, he dropped his heavycross bow when first beholding the dark fey witch's horror).  But how that fear takes shape will depend on the situation.  I think we can all agree that there are various types of fear.  We have comic fear, where someone's legs shakes or they piss their pants.  Then we have the type of fear that will forever wreck someone's mind.  I do not see Barovian people as being intrinscly fearful.  The fact is, they have been given good reason to fear the night and arcane magic.  They would be ignorant and foolish not be fearful.  They are a people capable of rational thought, but they are in a misty land that is dominated by the irrational (gothic).  My pc's fear would be competing with his strong sense of duty, which should be of some worth-while inner conflict for character development.

4.  Rational vs. Irrational.   This will be how I approch fear.  If my pc guard can rationally understand the "evil" percieved, his fear is manageable.  But if he is confronted with something completely irrational, something his mind cannot make sense of, then he may find himself outside of his own control, dominated by his fear of the unknown. 

5.  Repeated occurance with the irrational or "witchcraft."  As it is, the last thing he would want to be within the guard, is a witch hunter.  But while in the line of duty, if he comes face to face with witchcraft over and over again, his fear may become more manageable. 


Like I said, my interpretations are open-ended.  I'll be reading more source materials and bouncing ideas and questions within the forum here.

I imagine that these open-ended questions may produce an rp resource of value for any further Barovian pcs.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2006, 12:44:10 PM by Iconoclast »

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2006, 12:54:48 PM »
I think Icon's made a lot of good conclusions here. Though is I play a guard native, I'm going one of two ways.. our tright terrified of witch's, or fearful to the point of hatred.


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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2006, 02:58:33 PM »
Barovians spend their life in fear, they are conditionned to be that way more or less. It's one of the ways they are so easily dominated. From birth until death fear rules their lives, fear of the night, of the unknown, fear of the authorities, fear of the unnatural, fear of others, etc. It's no wonder that Castle Ravenloft has no guards and that no one wants to betray Strahd, everyone, even the most mischevious burgomasters and boyars would dare do anything (when he was regaining his strenght for fifteen years, the taxes were still deposited in the vault despite the fact no one was there to enforce it).

Most Barovians will never see a vrolock or a werewolf, they won't see the fey or demons or anything, but they just are afraid of them, they are raised as such. It's hard to come up with a modern equivalent as we are in an age of reason and knowledge while Barovia is very much a land of ignorance. It's one of the reasons there are no guards out at night beside the one poor sod doing gate duty, guards wouldn't want to be out at night more than anyone because they know that their halberd wouldn't save them from the Old Night.

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2006, 04:37:57 PM »
I can appreciate EO's emphasis on the degree and prevalence of fear in the daily lives of Barovians.

I concur.  However, I want to make sure we don't take away the complexity that makes role playing humans and their fears worth while.

While Barovians categorically may be a fearful people, in that their fears control many aspects of their daily lives, they are still humans who can experience a wide arrange of emotions; courage, love, hatred, a desire for justice, retribution, or vengence, a few may even dare to hope, etc. etc.. 

There are other aspects to the Barovian personality, as I see it; ethnic pride, a value of kin, a respect for tradition and "common sense."

If my Barovian pc is that unfortunate sod who stands guard at night, alone, at the western gates, as fearful as he will be, he still has a sense of duty and honor that is in some aspects, stronger than the outlander who has no emotional or cultural ties to the people sleeping within Vallaki.  He serves something larger than himself on that wall, his family and kin, and that can at least be a lifeline when confronted with the horrors that may threaten to drown one's courage.



     




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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2006, 05:38:51 PM »
True about other human qualities, I'll try to dig to find the part about the Barovian hero (the adventurer) and retype it here. Barovian natives are not a uniform lot of course, they're not all robots with the same personality (and they certainly have more than one trait), that's the general feel of Barovians. Among that, you got Barovians who are Vardo, others who are Verzi, you have Barovians who believe in a New Dawn (Morninglord), Barovians who are wanting to take down Strahd, others who serve the Count blindly, others who are guards for the sake of a better life, etc. But, the majority of Barovians are peasants who live a fairly dull and oppressed life (the Village of Barovia is perhaps the dullest place in Ravenloft).

'sides, I agree with the points raised. Barovians aren't one-sided and most descriptions are made for DM's to make NPC's and a feel of the place. A PC is three-dimensional, he will know feelings for sure and might adapt.

I prefer playing my natives as close to the portrayal in the books because I feel that just like a good albino drow, an outlanderish Barovian hurts the setting a lot (nothing irks me more than seeing "natives" around the campfire chatting the night away with a barkskin-ed elf and some outlanders).

Unrelated to the discussion, but it seems that Barovia may be in the process of coming out of the feudal age. Merchants are rising in power in Barovia and are becoming more and more powerful and more and more independant (which is what really got the Renaissance in motion). I wonder how the Count would react in the long run, him who wants to rule all in Barovia. I would expect some backlash or perhaps in his arrogance, he will not see the changes really.

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2006, 05:54:52 PM »
That the merchants are rising in power catches my interest, since Marku Vintilia hails from a merchant family.  Since merchant families have closer ties to Old Slavic Road (trade route), I imagine they would come into contact more often with outside influences making them at least a tiny bit more 'worldly' than the average Barovian, peasant. 

Its also very interesting when considering a Barovian involved in the Vardo and Verzi, who are likely to be exposed to shadow dancing and the arcane; as extremely rare as it would be.


I appreciate the discussion.  There are a lot nuances involved in playing a Barovian that are starting to take shape because of it.

 



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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2006, 06:02:08 PM »
The old noble families who were very powerful before the Terg invasion (the war of silver knives) lost everything to the Count. Now, they are only noble in name and status, but hold barely if any land. Most of the new nobility are agents of the count. Merchants are on the rise since they owe nothing to the Count save their rents, so they have much freedom and are doing good business (since as you pointed out, the Old Slavich is there and everyone has to pass through it) with merchants of other domains. Anyhow, quotes.

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In the villages, however, free tenants of the Count are commonplace, and most craftsmen and merchants owe nothing to the von Zaroviches save their monthly rent and the occasional kickback to a burgomaster's agent.

Quote
Barovia's resources are primarily agricultural, and its economic influence remains minimal when compared to titans such as Darkon or Nova Vaasa. Barovia has maintained continuous, healthy trade with its neighbors for centuries, however, and such activity is lifeblood to all of the realm's significant settlements. Networks of mercantile interdependence have strengthened considerably in recent years. A triangular web of ventures and alliances between merchants in Barovia, Kartakass, and Invidia are contributing to the gradual rise of wealthy merchant families in Barovia, a phenomenon seen in more advanced societies throughout the Core. Strahd, for the time being, seems to have no particular objection to this accumulation of power. How long this state of affairs can last remains to be seen, as Strahd is not known for suffering shifty merchants with political ambitions.

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2006, 03:14:49 PM »
I was one of those said characters that was buffing outside the door to the dark fey's ritual.  And Rhovannion knew it was a calculated risk... he really doesn't care about or fear anything anymore (least of all death), and especially the Inquisitor or guard (yes, he's lost his mind, if you know anything about his story and friends you know why, or go read his biography for some OOC insight :D)  he's been accused of witchcraft and worse and knows he doesn't have a reputation to save or protect. 

I did expect some sort of reaction from the Inquisitor and if I remember Marku did react (quite appropriately) and I was getting fairly tense about becoming the persecuted and being burnt along with the drow, although Rho did say before casting that he would heal or raise any who fell to the dark fey , so he tries to soften the blow when he can, but he's not gonna not throw the punch... but again Rho is as chaotic as it get's and didn't give a damn about a whole lot except that the drow inside that door had embarassed him and he was gonna kill him for it.  By the way, kudos to you Iconoclast , I applaud your rping of fear and wonder , something you don't see a whole lot and I appreciated it.

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2006, 08:43:16 PM »
I was one of those said characters that was buffing outside the door to the dark fey's ritual.  And Rhovannion knew it was a calculated risk... he really doesn't care about or fear anything anymore (least of all death), and especially the Inquisitor or guard (yes, he's lost his mind, if you know anything about his story and friends you know why, or go read his biography for some OOC insight :D)  he's been accused of witchcraft and worse and knows he doesn't have a reputation to save or protect. 

I did expect some sort of reaction from the Inquisitor and if I remember Marku did react (quite appropriately) and I was getting fairly tense about becoming the persecuted and being burnt along with the drow, although Rho did say before casting that he would heal or raise any who fell to the dark fey , so he tries to soften the blow when he can, but he's not gonna not throw the punch... but again Rho is as chaotic as it get's and didn't give a damn about a whole lot except that the drow inside that door had embarassed him and he was gonna kill him for it.  By the way, kudos to you Iconoclast , I applaud your rping of fear and wonder , something you don't see a whole lot and I appreciated it.

You mean the drow Sc'erver Bane? I wish I would have been there................. ;) - I hear he was a very well RP'ed drow, he got perma'd?

Heh, cheers for those showcasing fear of magic adequately, its very difficult and some manage to make it credible despite the ''wanna do the lich'' heard too often around...

Marcaius

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2006, 10:06:38 PM »
Well he laughed a bit too much ;-) but yea that's the one, most of the way through the ordeal I thought it was a DM controlled NPC, didn't realize we were going after some players char til pretty much the end... but it wasn't just fear of magic, blood started coming down the walls from the cieling and the less experienced characters in the room rped their characters balking at the sight of it, which just does sooo much for the atmosphere and mood, it's invaluable.  Gave a chance for the Inquistor to be all stalwart in the face of gruesome evil "Stand fast , lads!  His evil ends tonight!" type of thing... fun fun

And for all we know using magic like that infront of a guard and inquisitor could come back to haunt us , but I think both of the spell casters knew they were taking a risk, it's just that it was a greater risk going into such a hostile situation without preparing ourselves as best we could.  For me, the only spell I used that had an outward appearance change was prot. from evil with it's glowy dots floating up (hardly a grounds for declaring witchcraft, not to mention I wouldn't be surprised if the Inquisitor had a really high spellcraft skill so he'd know if we were using "witchery") the rest were stat boosts and armor wardings, so if there's no outward sign of the spell effect (like stone skin or prot. from elements), how distinguishable is divine spell casting from say a really emphatic prayer or beseeching of a god to say an ignorant native guard or citizen?

Iconoclast

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Re: Barovia, Player choices, and Magic
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2006, 11:25:50 AM »
Yaeh, I was rping Carrib when that drow pc began his menace with the outlanders at the outskirts.  I was applauding the tension he was building up.  Bellen, Vasham, and William were the three who first encountered the drow and at any point, one player could have stiffled the plot development.  It says something positive by the player base that a single drow pc was able to build up all that tension, leading towards the climax and resolution that it did. 



Here is just a thought.  Like Marcauius said, once inside the house, less experienced characters, such as a native pc guard, were overwhelmed mentally, way over their head in the arcane and horror.  In such a state, my guard pc could easily assume that barkskin on a pc was caused by the dark fey.  (But the incident would need to take place in the room with the dark fey, not before)

My point.....is that if you are role playing a character (unlike Marcaius' character who knew he was taking a risk) who wants to avoid being lynched or burned because of witchcraft, be more mindful of the setting and consequences.  Believe it or not, going into a battle without every buff available to you has its own rewards as well.